Skip to Content

Difference Between Rigid And EMT: A Complete Guide!

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

Along with completing the wiring of your house or office, you have to safeguard it. And what better way to safeguard it except conduits? 

Yet, there are many types of conduits out there in the market. Rigid and EMT are the 2 most used conduits. They are both good conduits but they possess many dissimilar properties.

What is the difference between rigid and EMT?

If you’re considering an easier installation process, go with EMT. But rigid conduits provide more space and quality. It handles environmental changes better than EMT. EMT is more affordable and versatile than rigid conduits. Nonetheless, rigid conduits serve better protection and longevity.

This small portion doesn’t uphold all of the articles. Complete reading the whole article for better understanding.

Read along!

Rigid And EMT: Short Comparison

EMT stands for Electrical Metallic Tubing whereas rigid is basically Rigid Metal Conduit. Both provide protection to electrical wires. It’s imperative to understand there are many reasons why steel conduits stand out.

Before presenting you with the details, it will be better if I brief you on the differences. This way, you can get rid of the confusion arising in your mind!

It is possible to differentiate rigid and EMT by a few factors. Comparing the rigid and EMT can be done by these factors.

Are you intrigued? Let’s have a look at the differences:

FactorsRigidEMT
Diameter½” to 6”½” to 4”
Wall Thickness0.104″ to 0.266” (Thick)0.042″ to 0.0883” (Thin)
Installation ProcessDifficultEasy
ProtectionGoodNot as good
PriceExpensiveNot so expensive

These are some of the core things you have to look out for when buying conduits. The side-by-side comparison will aid you in your decision-making process. 

The elaborated discussion regarding this table is down below.

Elaborated Comparison

I have explained the main differences and factors to you. Details of these factors are a must to know for making a perfect choice. 

Read along for the detailed factors.

Installation Process

In order to utilize the conduits, you will have to install them first. Accordingly, there is an installation process for everything. Rigid and EMTs are no exceptions! 

Installing properly is very important as well! Not installing conduits properly can be the reason for common electrical problems arising.

For EMTs, the installation process is simpler compared to rigid. You can cut the EMTs using a hacksaw. Regarding bending, if the conduit is flexible; it cannot be bent more than 360 degrees. You can tighten the pieces of EMTs with set screws easily. 

The lightweight of the EMT makes the installation process easier. You can also do it by yourself, saving labor costs.

On the other hand, there’s a rigid conduit. Its wall thickness makes the cutting and bending process difficult. You often have to use high-end tools to do that. You’ll also need to anchor the rigid conduit; since they are very heavy.

Remember that it is a must to ground the conduit after installation. It’ll prevent static from being created on the surface of the conduit.

Winner: It’s a clear win for EMT when it comes to the ease of installation. With a little help, you can install EMT yourself!

Protection

Rigid conduits have greater wall thickness compared to EMTs. Greater thickness proportionally reduces the chances of electricity leakage. It can also withstand greater pressure because of its thickness and big diameter.

EMT provides less protection because it is very thin. Thin walls can be damaged easily when facing atmospheric changes. Along with thin walls, it has a reduced diameter. Although it’s versatile, the protection of EMT is not as good as the rigid conduit.

These conduits themselves ensure safety for you but improper installation can be unsafe. It can cause the leakage of electricity and increase the instances where someone gets electrocuted.

If you have a smart electric meter at home, you can be aware of it. Read the smart electric meter and do the necessary calculation. If there is any suspicious electrical activity, it can be because of the conduits.

From my end, this is a list of top-grade smart electric meters:

Product-1
Product-2

These meters accurately display the numbers of your electricity usage!

Winner: Regarding protection, rigid is the clear winner. Rigid conduits can handle abnormalities and irregularities better than any conduits out there.

Price

The pricing between EMTs and rigid conduits is very distinct. EMT is priced very lower compared to rigid.

Rigid conduits are pretty expensive. 10 feet partitions of rigid conduits can cost from 97$-976$ depending on the diameter. The more the diameter, the more its price.

Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) costs are far less than rigid conduits. A 25 feet partition of EMT can cost from 35$-90$. Similar to rigid conduits, it’s also dependent on the diameter.

The reason for EMT being cheap is its thickness. EMT has almost half the thickness of rigid conduits. The weight is reduced and the cost is lowered. 

Winner: From the price point perspective, EMT is the winner. It can provide great service at a cheaper cost!

Final Verdict: Which One is Better?

If you’re planning to bury the conduits deep down, choose rigid conduits. Due to their large amount of thickness, they can withstand more pressure than EMT. It also provides more protection. Still, it can be a drag to install it and it’s also expensive.

On the contrary, easy assembly and cost efficiency are the main key points of EMT. Due to its small thickness, there are flexible variants as well. The installation process is also easier for EMT. Nevertheless, EMT provides less protection compared to rigid conduits.

The choice of the conduit always comes down to the user. Take note of the features the 2 different conduits have and you can choose easily! 

FAQs

Question: How far down does the electrical conduit need to be buried?

Answer: Electrical conduits should be buried according to the surface. If considering soil surfaces, the metal conduits must be buried by 6 inches minimum. For concrete, it must be buried 4 inches deep. If buried under public roads, it should be a minimum of 24 inches. Not burying deep enough can be fatal.

Question: Can EMTs go in concrete?

Answer: EMTs are suited to go in concrete. Stainless steel EMTs are more fit for this. Also, elbows and fittings of EMTs are allowed deep inside the concrete. Along with concrete, EMTs can also be buried underground. They should be directly in contact with the earth while providing protection.

Question: Is aluminum a conduit?

Answer: Yes, aluminum can be a conduit. Aluminum adds some features to conduits. Since aluminum is lightweight, it reduces the weight overall. It prevents corrosion, which in turn reduces maintenance. These conduits are also easy to install and cost-friendly! Buying an aluminum conduit can be a smart decision.

Conclusion

By now, you shouldn’t have any confusion about the difference between rigid and EMT.

When buying rigid and EMT conduits, try to pick the larger size. This way you won’t run out of conduits while ensuring safety for electrical wires.

Wishing you all the very best!